Istanbul Christmas, 2012: Inside the Blue Mosque

People wishing to enter this or most other mosques must take off their shoes and, if they are women, wear a hat and scarf. It was winter in Istanbul when we were there, and since no place was provided to put your shoes, you simply put them down any place you could find inside theContinue reading “Istanbul Christmas, 2012: Inside the Blue Mosque”

A Brief History of Istanbul

Originally named Byzantium (meaning “the city on the Bosphorus”) what is now named Istanbul was peacefully ruled by Alexander the Great from the 6th to the 4th centuries B.C. A Roman city from the 2nd to the 4th centuries B.C.E, Byzantium was then named Constantinople by (guess who?) the emperor Constantine, who made it theContinue reading “A Brief History of Istanbul”

An Istanbul Christmas and the Call to Prayer

The Call to Prayer rang out frequently during our stay. We would hear it first from our hotel room at 6:00 a.m, but by our third day we took it so for granted as to find the sound barely noticeable even though there was a mosque close enough to our hotel that we felt weContinue reading “An Istanbul Christmas and the Call to Prayer”

Christmas in Istanbul, 2012: Geography

The historical importance of the geography of Istanbul cannot be overestimated. The city spans two continents, Europe and Asia, and the Bosphorus Strait, which connects the Black Sea with the Mediterranean, has always made Istanbul strategically important from both a military and economic point of view. Oil tankers may be seen making their way alongContinue reading “Christmas in Istanbul, 2012: Geography”

Christmas in Istanbul, 2012

Despite President Trump’s allowing Turkey a stretch of land in Syria, overall relations between Turkey and the United States have soured in the seven years since my wife, Mary, and I spent our Christmas holidays in Istanbul. During that more conciliatory time we could not help notice the sense of comic festivity, sympathetic to theContinue reading “Christmas in Istanbul, 2012”

Learning to Walk Again

When it comes to deciding where to spend my later years, I stated my preference in my last post for “aging in place,” as opposed to moving into a continuing care facility. I also promised to give you an example in this post of the advantages of this decision, assuming a person is presently healthyContinue reading “Learning to Walk Again”

A Sensible Alternative for Seniors

Back in the day, individuals or couples who could afford it anticipataed their later years by purchasing Long Term Care insurance. This helps explain the fair number of Assisted Living Facilities already existing or springing up, usually in lush, country-like environments that offer banquet style meals, the latest in workout equipment, bus trips to concertsContinue reading “A Sensible Alternative for Seniors”

How We Got Here: Ignoring Evidence and Confusing Cultural With Political Differences

I took issue in my previous post with those who live by some fixed truths they are unwilling to have questioned. The idea of climate change has certainly not simply been invented but, so far as I know, neither has it been 100 percent proven. To claim one or the other is an example ofContinue reading “How We Got Here: Ignoring Evidence and Confusing Cultural With Political Differences”

Egypt Since the Uprising: 2011-2019

Mary and I had been home two weeks before we began seeing television accounts of the Egyptian Uprising that began on January 25, 2011. In hindsight the fact of political and social unrest in Egypt should not have come as a great surprise to us. When I asked our tour guide why we had toContinue reading “Egypt Since the Uprising: 2011-2019”

Egypt 2011: Alexandria

Alexandria existed in my imagination long before I ever got to see the place. It rained miserably the whole day when I finally did get there, but the sogginess didn’t matter to me as much, perhaps, as it should have. When Mary and I got off the bus from Cairo, there sat Alexandria on theContinue reading “Egypt 2011: Alexandria”

Egypt 2011: Ramses II

Ramses II (1304-1213 BCE) was pharaoh during a comparatively peaceful period in Egyptian history. His was a time of construction, though Ramses also lead major military expeditions, not all of them entirely successful. Ramses had many wives and many children, the tomb of his wife Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens near Luxor beingContinue reading “Egypt 2011: Ramses II”